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Support for Climate Policies for the 2020 Work Plan

From: domainremoved <James>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2020 11:35:36 -0800

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Honorable Mayor Taylor and City Council Members,

Thank you for the climate leadership you have shown by passing the Reach Codes, declaring a Climate Emergency, and for the support you've expressed for setting the goal of zero carbon by 2030. These policies are exactly what are needed for Menlo Park to lead the way for California and, in turn, for California to lead the way for the world to take the "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented" action needed to stabilize the climate and ensure a livable world for all.

As a member of the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC), I and my fellow commissioners voted earlier this week to recommend a lean format for CAP 2.0 as well as a set of strategies that will put us on a good footing to meet the goal that will be set by CAP 2.0. I am unfortunately unable to be at today's work plan session in person, so I wanted to write to reiterate my personal support for these recommendations. I believe that a lean, clear CAP 2.0 will allow us to quickly develop the zero carbon by 2030 target and the strategies required to get there, and will produce a document that is easily understood by all and sharable with other communities. But it is imperative that while we are developing a plan we don't wait to take further action - as you can see in the EQC memo, delayed action comes with a tremendous cost, both financial and environmental. Therefore we also recommend a suite of actions that I believe will help us reach a zero carbon by 2030 goal. In brief:

1) Decarbonization of municipal assets, to clean up the city's buildings and vehicle fleet and lead the way forward for residents
2) Continuing the work of the Reach Codes through ongoing commercial electrification
3) Exploring ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Menlo Park to reduce traffic, vehicle emissions, and make the air and streets in Menlo Park safer
4) Increase permit compliance for heating and water equipment, to ensure the safety of these appliances in our unfortunately earthquake and fire susceptible region
5) Create an educational campaign to engage community members on how we're leading the way in preserving a livable climate and can continue to do so

As we're seeing the impacts of the climate crisis escalate rapidly, with unprecedented tragedies like the bushfires in Australia that have already consumed an area equal to nearly half of the entire state of California, it can be easy to be pessimistic; but in seeing the increasingly bold actions taken by communities like ours around the world I think that there's more reason than ever to be optimistic that we will rise to the challenge. It is only by taking these bold actions and seeing them propagate around the world that we can catalyze the "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecendented" changes needed to confront this crisis, and Menlo Park is in the privileged position of being able to do so.

James Payne
Received on Thu Jan 30 2020 - 11:39:18 PST

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